I was doing an LFR Dragon Soul with Redfyre last night, and we were talking a bit about our DPS, what we hoped to get from the LFR, why we were doing it, and what kept us trying to perform on things like the trash.

Thinking about it, it all comes down to motivation.

Why are we there? Once we are there, what spurs us on to perform at our best? If we do try to do our best, are we always going full bore, or do we slack on the trash?

This isn’t a theater class, but still, what is our motivation?

We’ve all seen people in incredible, god-like gear who nevertheless do barely auto-attack levels of DPS on the trash, and if we’re lucky wake up long enough to use a rotation and pop out 33k DPS on the boss before going back to sleep… or trying to get the raid to boot anyone under 20k DPS.


What is there to spur us on to join, and then to do our best.

There can be positive motivation.

For joining at all, and contributing once you are there, if you complete the run you get 250 valor points. If a boss dies, there is a possibility of loot.

For negative motivation, if the group fails, then you wipe and pay some gold out of your pocket for repairs. You have to spend more of your time in the group to get to the positive motivators.

What keeps you from simply coasting, and if the rest of the group doesn’t make it while carrying you, leaving for another group?

Long queue times, and a deserter timer, basically.

Plus, if you coast, you run the risk of being booted, but that is mostly reserved for the blatantly afk… until the boss fight starts, and it is too late to remove you for stopping what you are doing and getting carried.


For many of us, especially for those people I consider my friends, the lure of shinies and valor and participating in grand battles may be enough to get us in there, but self-respect keeps us trying our hardest, even on the trash.

Self-respect. Not epeen, showing off to others, but to earn the satisfaction of trying your best and knowing you did everything you reasonably could to contribute to the win.


There is something else that is also a fun motivator. Pride, pride and peer pressure.

Who wants to be the one that does something stupid, and not only do YOU know you did something stupid, but now everyone else is looking at you and pointing and laughing?

Fear of ridicule can be a powerful motivator, and I think most of us recognize that, which is why when asshats ridicule people unjustly, we want to punch them in the snout or defend the one being persecuted.


I was thinking about motivation, and game mechanics, and how I see people talk about how Blizzard failed with boring iterations of boss fights that have all been done before, nothing new, nothing challenging.

And I was also thinking, “Boy, I’d love to see people auto-attacking or AFKing their way to boss kills have some motivation to step up their game, since they clearly don’t have any self-respect.”

Redfyre and I were on Hagara when this train of thought was going through my head, and as we fought the powerful Shaman boss, it occured to me, I knew of one way we could see some motivation in a fun fashion.

Now, Hagara is a Shaman, and clearly has a mix of enhancement and elemental abilities. Most of her abilities could be placed solidly in the elemental theme, but she still dual wields her axes, which gives her an enhancement-specific touch.

In LFR mode, she does not Ice Tomb a player, but I think something else… unique… could be added in it’s place.

Instead of casting Ice Tomb, why not have her summon a pair of Spirit Wolves, which she then sics on whichever player queued as DPS actually has the lowest DPS?

I’m talking the same kind of mechanic as we see in Firelands on the Shannox fight, when Rageface picks out a target and then starts chewing on them until someone else lands a big honkin’ crit.

Just, you know… in this case, instead of being a random target, it’s more refined.

Suddenly, there is a motivator to getting you off your ass and doing some DPS, isn’t there?

All you have to do is follow the strategy employed when chased by a bear. You don’t have to outrun the bear… you just have to outrun anyone else with you who is ALSO being chased by the bear.

And if you’re afk and doing no DPS?

Wolf lunch. Doggie snack. Pup kibble. Wear your bacon suit and have a nice day.

Would it make any difference? No, no it absolutely would not.

But, come on, I would SO look forward to the Hagara fight JUST to see who is going to get nibbled on, and if anyone is going to step up and crit the wolves, or if they’d be left to get chomped on.

We know the answer to that. The only person stepping up to save them is anyone they queued with. And, really, aren’t they the MOST likely to laugh when seeing a friend munched on?

I won’t even talk about the possibility of changing it from a flat DPS ranking to something more organic like checking for effort/rotations/active use of multiple abilities so that an AFKer doing more damage than someone in entry level gear trying all out gets preferential eating privileges.

More complex, probably infinitely more complex, but also more satisfying.

Come on, can’t you see it with me?

You know you would see people actually put our more DPS if they knew they would be eaten if they were at the bottom, and if the criteria on how hard each person was trying to do their best was judged by an impartial Blizzard software algorithm that was not fully understood…

Let’s be honest. If Blizzard tried it once, we’d want to see some similar mechanic on every damn LFR fight, including trash. Try your best or get eaten.

I’m not a cruel bear, though. If everyone was trying, at a certain minimum rate, then I could see defusing the mechanic for that fight.

I’m not cruel. No, really.

Harsh enough to make slackers actually TRY once they step up and volunteer to be in a group raid or get eaten? That I am, my friends, that I am.

Motivation. If you don’t bring your own with you, I WILL dream of ways of imposing some on you, or making it not worth your while to join.

23 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. I like the Activity (recount) idea, for showing who’s trying.

    The trouble with LFR is, it’s a well known fact that those who do 16k dps or lower, win the /roll

    I wish that was /tic, but it’s definitely the way it seems to work out ;(


  2. There’s always going to be someone with the lowest DPS, be it because they just showed up in minimum ilvl gear, because of lag, or just because they’re a Boomkin. There would have to be something in there that takes those things into consideration.

    Now, how about “pulls aggro off the tank” wolves/debuffs? Either because they’re attacking the low-priority target, because they’re not checking threat (hey, DKs, I’m looking at you hitting stuff right as my shield slam misses… or while I’m still running in…) etc? I’m definitely for implementing something like that in all the 5-mans. Yes, starting with RFC/Deadmines.

    Disclaimer: I’m currently leveling a disco-priestess, and I’m tired of healing DPS more than the tank. Even if they drop to 30%, they still don’t “get” it 😦


  3. This is an issue I’ve been thinking of for a while; just general idea of motivation in LFR in general. I have often wished for some mechanics that would “poke” DPS into trying harder. Healers and Tanks get that immediate feedback on most fights (tanks that don’t Heroic Will out of Fading Light die on the spot, if healers slack people die).

    While I would really like to see a system that encourages people to get as high of DPS as possible, I find many fights that wouldn’t work for and it would encourage a lot of frivolous DPS. My first idea was when I was regularly in the top 5 and twice lost the 390 weapons to people far lower than I and I wanted some “reward” for the highest DPS. The problem with this is that fights aren’t against dummies. A player might be doing exactly what they are supposed to but may be doing low DPS (See Spine of Deathwing).

    The system, whether it was meant to point out who was lowest or simply rewarded the highest, would have to be finely tuned to each fight to recognize exactly which DPS were doing their jobs (and taking into account each DPS’s nuance…we don’t want to punish Affliction Warlocks for low DPS on Blistering Tentacles because they have a long warmup time). Blizzard in the past has been sort of lazy with many systems (the game can’t even recognize what spec a person is in, LFR initially was just role locked) especially in regards to dungeons/LFR so I don’t entirely trust them to make a system that would properly recognize success and point out failure.

    That said, I still like the idea of her wolves going after someone, but it would have to do so in a way that didn’t prevent that person from theoretically bringing their DPS up.

    Maybe they should make a fight where DPS = Self-Healing on DPSers, so they are required to do as much as possible to the boss to avoid dying…that way it would be obvious who was slacking.


  4. BBB, I totally agree with this, but the major issue with LFR is anonymity. It’s the same reason that people feel they can be jerks without consequence while riding in their cars. Nobody knows who you are (for the most part) and you’ll likely never see these people again. As such, there just isn’t any meaningful way for the community to punish trolls, afk-ers, etc… for ruining the run aside from voting to kick them. And all that does is push them back into a queue so they can do it again.

    And as some posters have pointed out both here and on Wowinsider, some people just like to be jerks. I’ve got a running list of folks that I’ve seen do things that make me never want to run with them again and I keep it next to my pc when I run LFR. I’ve seen a few of them on second and third occassions and actually got both of them vote kicked.

    That said, there are levels of jerks out there. Some like to troll, but some others just like to be jerks for jerks-sake. Say Blizz implemented the system where if you win a roll in LFR you cannot vendor or DE it. I’m confident that a small percent of players would still roll on things they already have just to be jerks and because they KNOW there is nothing anyone can do about it.

    At this point, all we can hope to get from LFR is a “chance” at gear and to see the content. Fortunately for me, that’s all I’m using it for right now. Since I’m not planning to run DS 10 normal, I really don’t “need” the gear so it’s no big deal if I don’t win a roll. Sure, it’s nice to get it so I can do better, but realistically it’s not essential.


  5. Would you have any sort of mechanic in place so the wolves don’t go after those pumping out heals? Or would lowest HPS also be factored for NOM NOM NOM?


  6. I would use a different benchmark:

    Have every boss mechanic that players need to individually react to also apply a harmless, undispellable, stacking debuff whenever players fail.

    Whoever has the largest stack becomes the spirit wolf chew toy.

    This solves the problem with gear disparity, and with players that are so fixed on being top DPS that they ignore fight mechanics (and drive the healers crazy) just to squeeze a little more DPS.


  7. LFR, got 2 pieces think so, it was fun at start, but 2 days ago i tried normal version and did 4/8 (healer), also did Firelands yesterday. What i know now, LFR is boring, the only “motivation” could be top HPS, but thats not really a goal for a paladin unless just spam Holy Radiance. I loved and made while happy when I saved the group from wipes with a precisse Lay on Hands, a Hand of Sacrifice, timing aura mastery waiting forthe big hit. Things like that makes you excited and remembers you why you play a MMO, why are you getting better gear.

    Fun mechanics can be a motivator, not just: push a button, dont stand on fire. Kill adds. (I loved the ricochet ball from warlord, it completely change the feeling of the fight, but of course LFR was made for view the content in an easy way)

    My final point: Probably kill mechanics its not the better idea for a LFR nerf, maybe less damage, or not insta kill, but to warn you that you must avoid it. Or you have to react to something.

    (lots of grammatical errors= native spanish speaker)


  8. I’d love to see this. I’d *especially* love to take some of my Guild paladins and priests into LFR, pick on some cocky rogue, and chain bubble them / life grip them out of melee range, and generally spend an entertaining few minutes seeing if we could nail a heroic rogue to the bottom of the DPS charts. It’d be funny to see them get chomped by the wolves. But that’s probably the issue. This kind of mechanic would get exploited and trolled mercilessly.

    Anyways, an interesting post, especially on self-motivation. I guess it depends what stage of life you are at. I knew enough teenagers who had a philosophy of “The way I look coolest is by doing the least and getting away with it”, i.e. rebellion. I expect there are plenty of WoW players that think it’s very cool to slack their way to success, because that reflects their environment. As I’m the wrong side of 40 I’ve long since progressed to “the best way to lose the respect of my peers is to slack on the job”, and because like most people I like peer-acceptance, I make sure I work hard.

    I think most of us want the respect of those around us, but there can be very different perceptions of how best to win that respect. LFR suffers from that a bit, just like unrated BGs.


  9. That old joke, “I don’t have to out-run the bear, I only have to out-run you?” There is an old wives’ tale that being ‘thrown to the wolves’ is when they used to throw one’s children off the wagon to escape more easily.

    As an enhancement shaman, I especially love your idea. It’s genius. Let’s add one more level: for every player who becomes a Scooby-snack, the loot level goes up and all last-standing players get a trinket of choice! Woot!

    Now, what do we do about those players who troll other great DPS who are actually working their tales off, like the DK did to the shaman the other night? There should be a tar-and-feather option: you can play the rest of the LFR, but must do it dressed like a giant, ugly chicken.


    • As a_ said though, and what I hadn’t really considered, you know there will be trolls who take pride in being the one getting eaten, or wearing the chicken suit. Or, this being wow, the floppy murloc suit.

      What I do like about the idea is, they are already not contributing, so having them get eaten hurts nothing, but ensures they get a repair bill.

      The more I think about it, the more certain I get that it would have to be an activity based test, not a dps or meter based one.

      And, as someone who has 4 level 85 characters who tries flat out in LFR every time I go, let me say that I always see at least a few 33k dps on the meters every run, and I can try flat out in pure LFR and 378 gear and rarely get above 22k. If you can ‘not try beyond auto-attack and occasional abilities” and top the charts, then you’re either not using your charts right, or you’re not in gear that is topped out in lfr.


      • I am glad I am not the only one. I work hard in those things, and sometimes my DPS/Damage just stays in the top 10, sometimes top 5, but I have yet to be Number One. Since we have a society that doesn’t believe in “shame” anymore (not sure how I feel about it, just an observation, with great amounts of supporting evidence), you’re right: the chicken suit would be sought after. I like the activity-based idea.

        Been thinking about your theme on “motivation” a lot lately. Might even motivate another blog post.


  10. Heh. Kind of like Mandokir in ZG, when he kills someone and gets more powerful… he yells ‘ding’ and Hakkar yells ‘Grats’… Would be funny if the boss called someone out on not really trying, and if they kept napping through it, hammered them into a two dimensional circle, like a cartoon.


  11. My motivation for bosses is fine, for trash not so much, having said that its pretty common to be just cruising on trash and still top 5 as dps or 2nd as healer

    LFR Bosses?. Ok I have two 353, I have two 359, I have no valor gear at all on my alt because I turned it all into gold until the price on boes crashed,. I am 2.5% under hit cap because I need to visit the reforger, I don’t use two dps increasing elements of my arms otation because its too hard with aussie ping and old slow reactions. All that and i am still no 1 on dps:(


  12. Except with that fight, I was the lowest DPS. He was tryingto kill me! /evil stare….LOL but it was a fun idea. 😀


  13. On one hand, I like the way you think.

    On the other… we play the same game. You *know* there would be people trying to be the one to be eaten (plus, the … “funny” jokes about it), and then complain when someone else gets that “honor”. Unless being eaten also means that you are not eligible for loot, it wouldn’t work (and if you make that person ineligible for loot, that’s unfair to someone who gets d/c’d in the middle of the fight, etc).

    … unless you make it so that if you get eaten and are ineligible for loot, you don’t also lose your weekly chance to get loot of the boss, ie, you get to try again that week. *That* I could see working.


  14. Hi Big Bear Butt,

    I agree motivation is a key component to…really anything. If the drive, isn’t there you’re more likely to coast and actually hate what you’re doing. Motivation involves an internal desire to do something not just well, but your best.

    Thanks Heidy


  15. Well, we can track it through “activity”. The slackers will be low on that list even when the would be doing high dps vs a newly geared chap. It now always seems that those slackers are also the ones the get the win pn the gear rolls. P.s. Love your blog


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